Definition of twist in English:

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Pronunciation: /twɪst/


[with object]
1Form into a bent, curling, or distorted shape: a strip of metal is twisted to form a hollow tube her pretty features twisted into a fearsome expression
More example sentences
  • The crown wasn't ordinary exactly; it was a blackened sort of metal, twisted and molded into shapes of cold fire.
  • My left foot seemed to have been twisted in an odd angle.
  • This molecule has a structure that is twisted into the shape of a propeller with six blades because of steric interactions among its hydrogen atoms.
crumple, crush, buckle, mangle, warp, bend out of shape, misshape, deform, distort
North American informal pretzel
contort, screw up, quirk
crumpled, bent out of shape, crushed, buckled, warped, misshapen, distorted, deformed
North American informal pretzeled
crooked, wry, lopsided;
1.1 [with object and adverbial] Form (something) into a particular shape by taking hold of one or both ends and turning them: she twisted her handkerchief into a knot
More example sentences
  • Amber has to get her gloves to twist them into a shape similar to the creature she likes.
  • Her dark tresses were twisted into an oddly shaped bun with two chopsticks sticking from them.
  • So Hunab Ku twisted the boughs into the shape of a man, and he breathed upon it and set it on Earth.
1.2 [with object and adverbial] Turn or bend into a specified position or in a specified direction: he grabbed the man and twisted his arm behind his back
More example sentences
  • Her face ached from the false smile that appeared on her lips, and her toe throbbed from being twisted in the wrong direction.
  • Every head in Madrid's packed Plaza de Toros was twisted in their direction.
  • And before he knew it, the pro had twisted him into positions he never thought possible.
1.3 (twist something off) Remove something by pulling and rotating it: beetroot can be stored once the leaves have been twisted off
More example sentences
  • Turning around, I twisted the top off my water bottle and took a quick swig from it as I walked into my room and sat down at the foot of the bed, which sunk down under my weight.
  • He pocketed the cigarettes and twisted the top off the thermos.
  • He twisted the lid off the marmalade and put it sticky-side-up beside the toaster.
1.4 [no object] Move one’s body so that the shoulders and hips are facing in different directions: she twisted in her seat to look at the buildings
More example sentences
  • During the reading, Huang Jingao kept twisting and moving his body, and appeared to be uncomfortable.
  • Her body begins to twist when she feels me on her shoulder.
  • I was twisting and flexing my body just to feel it move.
turn (round), swivel (round), skew (round), spin (round), pivot, rotate, revolve
1.5 [no object, with adverbial] Move in a wriggling or writhing fashion: he twisted himself free
More example sentences
  • She squirmed and writhed and twisted, genuinely this time, but she was small anyway, and Sarah was strong, and so she wasn't going anywhere.
  • She tried to wriggle and twist around, but could only move fractionally.
  • The sea will rear up because Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, is twisting and writhing in fury, making his way toward the land.
wriggle, writhe, squirm, worm, wiggle
1.6Injure (a joint) by wrenching it: he twisted his ankle trying to avoid his opponent’s lunge
More example sentences
  • In attempting to play the shot, Lehmann twisted the injured left knee which he already had strapped and he obviously did further damage.
  • The Spaniard had a break point for a 3-1 lead in the first set when he twisted his right ankle after chasing a Sluiter forehand.
  • ‘The real test will come in the New Year when I am running and twisting the knee but a week after the operation everything is going well,’ he said.
sprain, wrench, turn, rick, crick
1.7Distort or misrepresent the meaning of (words): he twisted my words to make it seem that I’d claimed she was a drug addict
More example sentences
  • I have been misquoted and my words have been twisted.
  • Being clear, and always conscious of whether my words could be twisted, was really important.
  • We seem to have a lot of sensible men in our laboratories at the moment but their words are being twisted and blown up in a quite irresponsible manner by the media.
distort, misrepresent, change, alter, pervert, falsify, warp, skew, put the wrong slant on, misinterpret, misconstrue, misstate, misquote, quote/take out of context, misreport;
2Cause to rotate around a stationary point; turn: she twisted her ring round and round on her finger
More example sentences
  • Maybe if I twist this ring a little harder I'll get to imagine Kendall again.
  • Reaching in his back pocket, he pulled out the ring of keys and twisted the smallest one in the lock on his right cuff.
  • She adjusted the tiny screw at the top and twisted some more, still nothing came out.
twiddle, adjust, turn, rotate, swivel
2.1 [with object and adverbial] Wind around or through something: she twisted a lock of hair around her finger
More example sentences
  • The pair were laughing loudly, Corrie twisting one of her curls around her finger.
  • Rochelle began twisting some of her hair around her finger, and I thought that she mustn't have been keeping tabs on me as well as she thought.
  • Cora toyed with her cloak, twisting the shining white fabric between her fingers while gazing up at the stars.
wind, twirl, coil, curl, wrap
2.2Move or cause to move around each other; interlace: [with object]: she twisted her hands together nervously the machine twists together strands to make a double yarn
More example sentences
  • It was a butterfly, its wings made from fine strands of gold twisted together until they formed this delicate creature, so fine it seemed almost transparent.
  • He wore a button-down collared shirt; his locks had been neatly twisted and pinned back in a bun.
  • I'm just uselessly twisting a thousand things around in my head.
intertwine, twine, entwine, interlace, weave, plait, interweave, braid, wreathe, coil, wind
literary pleach
2.3Make (something) by interlacing or winding strands together: he could twist a rope strong enough to hold a mule
More example sentences
  • The thread is twisted by attaching loose strands to the top of the spindle, then rolling the spindle along the thigh to start it spinning.
  • You may also twist a cord out of yarn, or use i-cord.
  • With remainder of yarn, twist a cord or crochet a chain cord.
2.4 [no object] Take or have a winding course: the railway lines twist and turn round the hills
More example sentences
  • The corner of her eye caught the yellow bus as it came down the long road, twisting and winding, stopping here and there to pick up children that also attended school.
  • Below, another less obvious route twists off slyly to the south.
  • The rim snakes and twists and after a while it's easy to lose your bearings in an unfamiliar place.
wind, bend, curve, turn, meander, weave, zigzag, swerve, loop, corkscrew, snake, worm
3 [no object] Dance the twist.
Example sentences
  • The dancing couples twisted and turned, dancing until they got dizzy and sat down for a drink.
  • If you can listen to either one's music without starting to twist, frug or jerk, you seriously need a soul implant.
  • He took my hand and held my waist as we danced across the floor, twisting and twirling.
4British informal Cheat; defraud.
Example sentences
  • For those of you who lied, twisted, cheated and bullied until the least worst choice available to me was to close the site, congratulations.
  • 'We are only talking about a small number of cases, but every so often we get a claim from someone who is simply trying to twist money out of an insurance company, or a benefits organisation, or is trying to cover up some other crime they have committed.
5 [no object] (In pontoon) request, deal, or be dealt a card face upwards.
Example sentences
  • The other players' cards will not be visible at this point, except where they have split, twisted, declared pontoons or gone bust.
  • If the total value of your cards is less than 21 you may say "Twist me one".
  • If your total remains below 21 you may ask for a fourth card to be twisted and then a fifth, in the same way.


1An act of twisting something around a stationary point: the taps needed a single twist to turn them on
More example sentences
  • If people want easy listening, they can find it with a twist of their dial.
  • Finally he managed to shove the key in the slot and gave it a violent twist, jerked the door open, and dove in, expecting the man to grab him or possibly pull a gun.
  • He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson's astonishment, the engine roared to life.
turn, twirl, spin, rotation, roll
1.1An act of turning one’s body or part of one’s body: with a sudden twist, she got away from him
More example sentences
  • Why just do lunges when you can do a lunge and a torso twist?
  • The gentle back bends and twists soothe lower back pain, improve digestion, and clear your thinking.
  • It wasn't so much that I was going fast, as that I did many acrobatic twists as I slid down the hill.
1.2 (the twist) A dance with a twisting movement of the body, popular in the 1960s: lets do the twist
More example sentences
  • But I told Quentin that there were other dances other than the twist.
  • They stood up, sang Twist and Shout, danced the twist, going up and down.
  • The entire crowd was in a constant groove, heads bopping and legs kicking up doing the twist, swing dancing, and just plain old quaking and shaking.
1.3 [mass noun] The extent of twisting of a rod or other object.
Example sentences
  • This high degree of twist, although common in ophiacodontids, represents the upper limit recorded for pelycosaurs.
  • The mechanism of facilitated melting probably involves the conversion of supercoils to changes in twist.
  • You can make a simple model of it by joining the ends of a long, narrow strip of paper after giving one end a 180-degree twist.
1.4 [mass noun] Force producing twisting; torque.
Example sentences
  • Even though the ejector gets smacked with every shot there's no torque or twist involved so ejectors normally last forever.
  • He attributes that to having a lot of torque, twist and turn in his body and lots of flexibility in his arm, shoulder and elbow.
  • The very expanse of his sentences, their twist and torque, is an American dream of plenitude.
1.5 [mass noun] Forward motion combined with rotation about an axis.
Example sentences
  • The mean and standard deviations of propeller twist, roll, and slide values at each step are listed in Tables 1 and 2.
  • The next part was a flurry of movement - block, parry, thrust, twist, turn, step.
  • Gliding and floating, soaring and diving, every twist and turn makes the hairs on my arms stand on end and a shiver tremble down my spine.
1.6The rifling in the bore of a gun: barrels with a 1:24 inch twist
More example sentences
  • You have to coordinate your eyeball with your hand to compensate for the rifling twist, but it's not hard to learn.
  • A tab on the shroud engaged a small slot in the frame to prevent it from turning and the rifling twist made everything self tightening.
  • This allows a tight brush or patch to correctly follow the rifling twist for better cleaning.
2A thing with a spiral shape: a barley sugar twist
More example sentences
  • The tapered open twists and interwoven spirals of the fire screen shown in Plate IX also appear on an umbrella stand that was part of the Wanamaker display.
  • The bed itself was framed in dark ebony, its dusky twists spiraling towards the ceiling, while the rest of the room was swathed in black and shades of maroon and blood red.
  • The unit pictured has a spiral twist, first bent around a big tin can, then a smaller one and then an even smaller one for smooth curves.
ringlet, curl, corkscrew, coil;
lock, hank
2.1British A paper packet with twisted ends: he handed her a twist of paper
More example sentences
  • Delphine pulled a twist of paper from her pocket and laid it out flat on her knees.
2.2A small quantity of tobacco, sugar, salt, or a similar substance, wrapped in such a packet: he bought a packet of crisps with a blue twist of salt in them
More example sentences
  • I sprinkled upon it a bit of salt from my twist, and it made a dish fit for those in a timber hall.
  • That said, I'm a bit of a picnic pedant; I have to have little twists of salt and pepper to dust on to my crisp salad or a ripe tomato or two.
  • They lived in Yearman, in southern Ohio, until they had nothing to barter and couldn't get credit for a twist of tobacco.
2.3A curled piece of lemon peel used to flavour a drink: she drank vodka and tonic with a twist of lemon
More example sentences
  • Strain into the glasses and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
  • The old standby of orange or lemon twists are available year-round, which helps to account for their popularity.
  • Breathe fresh air, walk and drink room temperature water adding a twist of lemon.
3A distorted shape: he had a cruel twist to his mouth
More example sentences
  • William's eyebrows shot up in bewilderment, and there was a twist in his mouth that nearly resembled an astonished droop.
  • His mouth had a wry twist to it as if he took everything with a heavy dose of sarcasm.
  • There is a twist to the corner of her mouth as she replies.
contortion, contorted/distorted shape
3.1An unusual feature of a person’s personality, typically an unhealthy one: her lack of considerateness is a personality twist which could bring her problems
More example sentences
  • The actors bring such unique twists to these characters, and we have such complex characters, that that's the fun of writing the show.
  • But I come to the conclusion that sometimes failure gives an interesting twist to a person.
quirk, idiosyncrasy, foible, eccentricity, peculiarity, oddity, kink;
aberration, fault, flaw, imperfection, defect, failing, weakness;
deviation, perversion
3.2British informal A swindle.
4A point at which something turns or bends: the car negotiated the twists and turns of the mountain road
More example sentences
  • In certain parts, the water was flowing extremely fast and there are lots of twists and bends.
  • Quite the opposite, in fact, as it responded immediately when it came to powering out of the twists and bends of the lanes of the Cartmel Peninsular.
  • Silence fills the car as he maneuvers around the twists and bends of the road, turning left on Main, which is much brighter.
bend, curve, turn, zigzag, loop, kink, dog-leg;
British  hairpin bend
4.1An unexpected development of events: it was soon time for the next twist of fate in his extraordinary career
More example sentences
  • The second half of the show is filled with unexpected and clever plot twists, as well as a marked shift in tone.
  • His stories are accompanied by a strange twist of the supernatural.
  • And in a serendipitous twist of fate, he is now in a position to offer my band discounted studio time at a local recording studio.
convolution, complication, complexity, intricacy;
surprise, revelation
development, turn of events, incident, happening, occurrence;
4.2A new treatment or outlook; a variation: she takes conventional subjects and gives them a twist
More example sentences
  • So far, all we've really had are variations on and interesting twists on the sound that was introduced to us on the debut record.
  • The pentagonal doors define the look of the Zaroot with its front and rear graphic treatment adding a futuristic twist.
  • Here's one added twist: Drink two glasses of water before each meal.
interpretation, slant, outlook, angle, approach, treatment;
alteration, variation
5 [mass noun] A fine strong thread consisting of twisted strands of cotton or silk.
Example sentences
  • Then use some thick yellow thread - I buy a type of thread called buttonhole twist - to hem all along the folded seam.
  • To stabilize a buttonhole, cord it with buttonhole twist, gimp or elastic thread.
  • In stockinette stitch with a twist of double rib and a pretty gusset stitch in super soft 4 ply.
6British A drink consisting of two ingredients mixed together.
Example sentences
  • Mo couldn't contain herself any longer, and covered her smirk with a twist of gin and bitter lemon.
  • This is a recipe for Lemonberry Twist, with raspberry schnapps, vodka and lemonade.
  • House infused black currant tea vodka puts a berry twist on a classic cocktail with Kaluha and cream.
7A carpet with a tightly curled pile.
Example sentences
  • This is a very nice piece of blue twist carpet.
  • I want it to be soft to touch (preferably wool), a twist carpet (so that every single bit of dirt doesn't show up - dogs and kids) and not too expensive.



round the twist

British informal Out of one’s mind; crazy: the games she plays drive me round the twist
More example sentences
  • The first time it was quite funny; the second time it was okay; but after 20 times it was frankly driving me round the twist.
  • In ‘real life’, you see, keeping his feelings quiet is driving him round the twist.
  • No doubt the constant bleating eventually sends them round the twist.

twist someone's arm

informal Pressurize someone into doing something that they are reluctant to do: I’ve twisted his arm and he’ll get you some tickets
More example sentences
  • If you twisted my arm and forced me to predict the winner, I'd probably go with the Patriots, for pretty much the same reasons everyone else is picking them.
  • Did she do that on her own, was she forced to do it, was somebody twisting her arm?
  • What you understand is they would do just about anything to have the freedom to believe what they wanted to believe and not have anyone twisting their arm.
pressurize, coerce, bulldoze, force, railroad;
talk someone into something
informal lean on, put the screws on

twist in the wind

Be left in a state of suspense or uncertainty: rather than giving clear public guidance, politicians let NATO commanders twist in the wind
More example sentences
  • The court case that had been planned to start in April 2004 was abandoned, leaving the parents concerned twisting in the wind.
  • During all this, the victim's families have been left twisting in the wind, denied anything close to the truth they will need in order to begin the process of closure.
  • There is no such thing as a plot - just five linear lives twisting in the wind.

twist someone around one's little finger


twists and turns

Complicated dealings or circumstances: the twists and turns of her political career
More example sentences
  • However all is not quite as it seems, and the audience is taken on a journey of twists and turns, with laughs and a few surprises along the way.
  • While still faithful to traditional music, Ryan introduced some twists and turns of his own.
  • This play has all the twists and turns, unexpected revelations and dark secrets you would expect from a good thriller.


Old English (as a noun), of Germanic origin; probably from the base of twin and twine. Current verb senses date from late Middle English.

Words that rhyme with twist

assist, cist, coexist, consist, cyst, desist, enlist, exist, gist, grist, hist, insist, list, Liszt, mist, persist, resist, schist, subsist, tryst, whist, wist, wrist

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: twist

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